Beautiful Vietnam
UNESCO HeritageHo Citadel preservation project completed
  • | | July 01, 2020 09:25 AM

A project to preserve the South Gate of the Ho Citadel, which was funded by the US Embassy has just been completed.

 Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink and Thanh Hoa Province representatives cut the ribbon to unveil the project "Conservation of the Stone Vault and the South Gate of the Ho Citadel" which was supported by the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation. Photo by the US Embassy

According to the embassy, the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) approved a USD92,500 grant to conserve the South Gate, the most important remaining structure of the citadel which had been seriously damaged over time.  The South Gate’s western (left) vault was in danger of collapsing because the keystone had cracked and become loose, threatening the safety of tourists and the overall structure of the gate.

The project, which returned the keystone back to its original position, started in December 2018 with the supervision and participation of Mr. Vu Nam Son, Vietnamese Swiss expert on heritage preservation, and the Conservation Centre of Ho Citadel.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony on June 29, US Ambassador Kritenbrink said: “The Citadel – its construction, layout, placement in the landscape, and the organization needed to build it – tells us so much about the people that built it and the society around them.  It really is a part of the heritage of all of humanity.”

The unveiling ceremony was part of the US Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

"Cultural heritage preservation is only one of many fields of cooperation between our two countries," Ambassador Kritenbrink said. "In areas as diverse as trade, development, education, health care, energy, and security, the United States and a strong and independent Vietnam are working together with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity.”

Built in 1397 by the Ho dynasty as the capital of Dai Ngu, Ho Citadel is unique for its outstanding construction technique, which used large blocks of stone, weighing from 10 to 26 tons each, carefully shaped, interlocked and elevated to about 10 meters high. The citadel served as a military stronghold to protect the country from invasion, thus becoming a symbol of patriotism, and a witness of Vietnamese history during the late 14th and early 15th century.

As part of his visit to Thanh Hoa  and Ninh Binh Provinces, the US Ambassador also visited Quang Trung Kindergarten built with Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance funds in 2012, toured Ham Rong Bridge with Vietnamese and American veterans, including those who fought to defend the bridge during the war, paid a courtesy call to Thanh Hoa Province Party Secretary and People’s Committee Chairman, delivered remarks at the Opening Ceremony of an English Access Micro-Scholarship Program at Thanh Hoa Ethnic Minority Boarding High School, talked with teachers and students of Lam Son Gifted High School, met alumni of US Government exchanges, and visited Phat Diem Church.

Ambassador Kritenbrink meets with Vietnamese veterans on Ham Rong Bridge. Among the Vietnamese veterans are those who fought to defend the bridge during the war.

“As we celebrate a quarter century of partnership this year, let us renew our commitment to work together to ensure a bright future full of peace and prosperity for the American and Vietnamese people," the ambassador added.

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